CANADA STOCKS-TSX extends gains, powered by energy group

Thu Mar 26, 2009 2:15pm EDT
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* TSX extends gains, led by energy sector

* Financials turn higher

* Richelieu profit down, stock drops more than 6 pct (Updates figures, adds comment)

TORONTO, March 26 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index rose more than 2 percent on Thursday, pulled higher by energy issues, which climbed with oil prices on optimism that government stimulus measures may be helping to jolt the global economy out of recession.

Oil and gas stocks that helped to power the TSX higher included Suncor Energy SU.TO, up 4.3 percent at C$29.63 and EnCana ECA.TO, ahead 3.3 percent at C$54.87.

The broader energy sector climbed 3 percent as the price of oil rose to near $54 a barrel as the stimulus hopes offset the impact of high oil inventories. [ID:nSP460455]

Quarterly results from electronics retailer Best Buy BBY.N beat forecasts, helping to boost optimism that consumer spending may be faring better than expected.

As well, U.S. economic growth and jobless claims data came in roughly as expected on Thursday, adding to the more buoyant investor mood. [ID:nN26447514]

"I think we were in such a dismal funk for such a while that good news is catching on and people are looking at the glass full rather than half empty," said Ian Nakamoto, director of research at MacDougall, MacDougall & MacTier.   Continued...